The Jewish Chronicle
Elsa enjoys 100th after recovering from Covid
THERE WERE tears of joy as Elsa Howard celebrated her 100th birthday, having recently spent seven weeks in hospital receiving treatment for coronavirus.
To make the day extra special, her daughter Ruth Rosenthal, two grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren braved the rain to stand outside the window of her Stanmore home to extend birthday greetings.
“She was overwhelmed,” Ms Rosenthal said. “And she cried. She was really taken aback by it all and she kept saying ‘unbelievable, unbelievable. I’m 100 years old’.”
Mrs Howard fled Austria for England with her sister just before the Second World War. Their parents and brother were Shoah victims.
The siblings found work as cleaners for a Leicester Jewish family and she eventually made her way to London, where she met her husband-to-be Bobby, a fellow Austrian refugee, at a club in St John’s Wood in 1950. They married the following year.
It’s been very hard not being able to see her — and for her not to see us’
Ms Rosenthal said that her “loving, caring and affectionate” mum had been shaped by her past.
“It made her very strong. Outwardly people think, ‘she’s so cute, she’s so sweet’. But inwardly, she’s a very, very strong lady.”
It was that strength which helped
her recover from Covid. It had been “very hard not being able to see her and for her not being able to see us.
“But she was very good. She was [nearly] discharged once and then they changed their minds. She was just… ‘Oh well, what can I do’? It’s unbelievable.”